Speculation starts on who is running with Romney

Speculation about Mitt Romney’s running mate is at fever pitch in the U.S. capital now that the former Massachusetts governor is all but assured the Republican presidential nomination.

WASHINGTON — Speculation about Mitt Romney’s running mate is at fever pitch in the U.S. capital now that the former Massachusetts governor is all but assured the Republican presidential nomination.

In the corridors of power on Capitol Hill, at swank Georgetown dinner parties, in K Street bars and on the talk-show circuit, it’s the subject of intense debate: Will it be Condoleezza Rice? Marco Rubio? Jeb Bush? Paul Ryan? Chris Christie?

Rubio, the Cuban-American U.S. senator from Florida, did little to silence the buzz surrounding his name on Sunday when he appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

After denying for months that he has any interest in the job, Rubio didn’t rule it out. He also touted a proposed immigration policy aimed at appealing to a large segment of the population who prefer U.S. President Barack Obama by almost 40 percentage points: Hispanics.

“I’m not going to discuss it anymore because now there’s a real process in place… he has a process and we should respect that process,” Rubio said with a smile when asked if he’d be interested in the job.

He agreed those comments would likely fuel even further speculation that he has the inside track.

“I think it’s fair. I think the fairness in it is he has a real process in place… the last thing he needs is those of us in the peanut gallery to be saying what we would or would not do,” said Rubio, who will appear with Romney on Monday in Pennsylvania ahead of the state primary.

Rubio said he hopes to see the Republican party become “the pro-legal immigration party” with the so-called Republican DREAM Act he’s formulating. The initiative would allow some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to get permanent residency if they graduate college or join the military.

Romney, who campaigned bitterly against the current DREAM Act during primary season, recently said he might be open to the Republican version although the differences between the two are minor.

The party’s far-right conservatives have reacted in alarm, saying Romney will be reviled and distrusted if he signs on. Rubio staked far more compassionate ground on Sunday in talking points certain to capture the attention of America’s Hispanic community, the fastest growing demographic in the country.

“We have to make very clear that we support legal immigration,” he said.

“It starts by recognizing that the vast majority of people who are here illegally didn’t come here to steal from the American government. They are here in search of opportunity, they are doing what most people would do if their children were hungry and their family was suffering.”

Romney has tapped a longtime aide, Beth Myers, to oversee his search for a running mate. He says he hopes to name someone before the Republican National Convention in Tampa in late August.

A smart pick, pundits say, would help him bridge gaps with Obama that are poised to cause him problems in the general election.

Romney struggles not just with Hispanics, but with women. Female voters make up almost 53 per cent of the American electorate, and polls suggest they prefer Obama by almost 20 percentage points.

Enter Condi Rice, former president George W. Bush’s one-time secretary of state.

A recent CNN/ORC International survey had Rice on top of all other potential running mates, with 26 per cent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents saying she’d be the best pick.

Rice, for her part, has said she has no interest in the job, but some have pointed out those sorts of denials often evaporate once potential running mates actually get the call from a presidential hopeful.

Jeb Bush’s name is another that pops up frequently — often thanks to Rubio. On Sunday, Rubio said once again that George W. Bush’s younger brother, a former Florida governor, would be “a fantastic vice president.”

Bush, on the other hand, has frequently touted Rubio. And as recently as Friday, he attempted to tamp down any notion he’d be on the Romney ticket.

“I am not going to be the veep nominee …. Lay that to rest,” he told Bloomberg.

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, is the potential running mate favoured by fiscal conservatives. He’s a fiscal hawk from a pivotal swing state whose gravitas on budget issues is respected on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.

“A Romney-Ryan ticket is the Democrats’ worst nightmare, and it is our best shot at restoring the American dream,” Jeffrey Kuhner, the Canadian-born president of the conservative Edmund Burke Institute, wrote recently in the Washington Times.

A recent poll out from Public Policy Polling, however, hints at the challenges for the Romney campaign as they determine who’s got the right stuff. The survey has Obama currently leading Romney by three points at 49 per cent to Romney’s 46.

According to the poll, four potential running mates would bolster Romney’s numbers against Obama — Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Republican presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

Christie does the best in the survey, allowing him to achieve a 47-47 tie with Obama. The governor, considered a moderate on some social issues, has said he’d be open to discussing the job with Romney.

The poll suggests four others, however, would hurt Romney’s numbers: Rubio, Ryan, Sarah Palin and Ron Paul, who remains in the race for the Republican nomination.

Palin, whose stint as John McCain’s running mate four years ago caused a firestorm of embarrassment for his campaign, would cause the most damage. The one-time Alaska governor would prompt Romney to fall seven percentage points behind Obama, at 43 per cent to the president’s 50.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A young new Canadian holds a flag as she takes part in a citizenship ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Open arms in an era of closed borders: pandemic-era immigration plan to be released

Backlogs are amassing that could take years to clear up

A sign at a Starbucks Coffee store in south Seattle is shown, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Starbucks saw faster-than-expected recovery in the U.S. and China in its fiscal fourth quarter, giving it confidence as it heads into the holiday season. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. More federal financial support is on its way to help Indigenous people and communities cope with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Feds to unveil more pandemic support for Indigenous communities

Another $650 million to help Indigenous communities

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Lesbian couple Yi Wang, right, and Yumi Meng pose during a military mass weddings ceremony in Taoyuan city, northern Taiwan, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Two lesbian couples tied the knot in a mass ceremony held by Taiwan’s military on Friday in a historic step for the island. Taiwan is the only place in Asia to have legalized gay marriage, passing legislation in this regard in May 2019.(AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Two same-sex couples in military marry in first for Taiwan

Only place in Asia to have legalized same-sex marriage

Paris Jackson poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2020, to promote her debut solo album “Wilted,” releasing on Nov. 13. Her new single “Let Down” drops Friday, Oct. 30. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Paris Jackson mines her heartache for solo debut album

11 songs on the concept album ‘Wilted’

Workers at Olymel's Red Deer pork processing plant are among those eligible for a $2-an-hour bonus because of the pandemic.
Red Deer Advocate file photo
Two Olymel workers test positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

Two workers at Olymel’s pork processing facility in Red Deer have tested… Continue reading

Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers, 25-17

Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers, 25-17

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2015, file photo, former world boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. shows off his Russian passport during a news conference in Moscow, Russia. Mike Tyson and Jones got permission from California's athletic commission to return to the boxing ring next month because their fight would be strictly an exhibition of their once-unparalleled skills. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
Mike Tyson, Roy Jones promise a fight in “exhibition” return

Mike Tyson, Roy Jones promise a fight in “exhibition” return

David Hearn watches his putt on the seventh hole during the first round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament at Sedgefield Country Club on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Greensboro, N.C. David Hearn, like everyone, has been deeply effected by the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Chris Carlson
Canada’s Hearn looks to shake off poor 2020 results with more consistent play

Canada’s Hearn looks to shake off poor 2020 results with more consistent play

Malnati birdies half of holes to take 1-shot lead in Bermuda

Malnati birdies half of holes to take 1-shot lead in Bermuda

Most Read